Every cigar aficionado has had to start somewhere when it comes to lighting and cutting their cigars. This can be frustrating for those that are new to the process, and can cause even cause quite a headache if there isn’t a cigar pro around to guide the newcomer through the process.
The first step in the process is cutting the personalized cigar. There are several types of cutters available. The best for cigar smoking are singe and double-bladed guillotine cutters. These are the most efficient at cutting the cigar to prep it for smoking. One great way to ensure a clean cut is to set the cutter on a table and place the cigar on it, then squeeze and cut. This method ensures not only a straight cut, but the size of most cutters will ensure that the proper amount is cut off as well. When using a pair of cutters, be sure to cut the cigar quickly, with one fluid motion, just above the shoulder (where the straight part of the cigar begins to curve to form an end).
There are other methods for cutting cigars, if no pair of guillotine cutters are available. A knife can be used, preferably a sharp one, for cutting your personalized cigar. It may take the skill of a heart surgeon, but it is possible. In case of emergency, when there is no proper pair of cutters around, a sharp knife can be used to get a cut on the cigar. Remember that it is better to cut too little than too much, and it is best to again cut just above the shoulder of the custom cigar.
The next method, as you may have guessed, is not the most efficient. It is, however, quite possible to bite the end of the cigar to prep it to be smoked. Only use this method in a pinch when there is nothing sharp to be able to properly cut the cigar. To perform this method, rotate the personalized cigar and bite gently, while rotating. After a few gentle bites the cap should pop right off. Be careful though, as if performed poorly this will result in a poor smoke.
Lighting the cigar is simple when it’s done before, but it’s not like lighting a candle. Gas lighters and matches can be used, but butane lighters are preferred and will result in a better flavor than the oil based ones.
When an oil lighter is used, be sure to rotate the lighter as you gently puff on the cigar, drawing in enough air to start to light the end. Once there is a strong cherry on the end to keep the cigar lit and draw sufficient smoke when puffed on.
With matches, remember that it will sometimes take up to 5 matches until the cigar is properly lit. While some smokers enjoy the taste of a match-lit cigar over an oil lighter, there are certainly more preferred methods these days than matches.
Butane lighters are nice because they light up easier and stay lit, and provide a stronger flame than the oil based ones. Many cigar lounges will actually prefer that you use a butane lighter over an oil based one.
Cedar is an ideal method for lighting cigars. When cedar is available for use, it provides a nice aroma and flavor to the tobacco, and stays lit nicely for the cigar to be held up to and lit.
Whatever the preferred methods of cutting and lighting for the smoker are, chances are they’ll find a way that works for them and get used to it. Remember, cigar smoking is supposed to be enjoyable and relaxing, so don’t overthink it. Find a way that works when enjoying a personalized cigar.